Let’s be real, I never really understood the value of a good bike. Growing up I was thrilled when I got a brand new purple bike for Christmas. It was shiny and new and had streamers and probably a bell. It was also probably from Walmart, but I didn’t care because I just wanted to show it off around the neighborhood.
Flash forward 15 years later, I’m 22 living in Columbus, OH and I decide I want a bike so that I can ride for exercise. I was all set to hop in my car to Target and buy another pretty purple bike (no streamers and bell this time…okay maybe a bell). My boyfriend at the time put a stop to that real fast and insisted I graduate from those bikes and get a real one. At the time I didn’t know what that meant, I had no idea that not all bikes were created equal and each type was made for a different type of riding. So I was convinced to go into our nearby Trek store and you can only imagine my sticker shock.
After my heart stopped racing a little bit, I decided on a nice blue hybrid bike. I was a bit too nervous to get a real road bike because the tires are so thin and there was no way I would be tromping through the woods on a mountain bike. I’ve had my bike for six years now (lets be honest, until last year it spent most of the time in a garage), and it’s been perfect for just riding around for fun.
But in light of National Bike to Work Week, I officially became a bike commuter to work! It was a little scary at first because Boston is notorious for it’s horrible drivers and disrespect for road rules. Here’s some things that helped for me to relieve some city riding anxiety.
1. You DON’T need fancy gear. Skip the clip in shoes because unless you’re a pro, unclipping and reclipping every time you hit a light will become a pain. Stick with the basics, padded shorts (day two and my buns are sore!) and some flashy lights for at night.
2. Map out your route. Know where there’s bike lanes and where there isn’t. It also helps to know where you will have to change lanes so you’re not second guessing yourself while there’s a big garbage truck riding you back wheel.
3. This might seem pretty obvious but I see it ALL the time…DON’T wear headphones. It just is another distraction and it’s important to be aware at all times what’s going on around you. Seriously, I zoned out for two seconds this morning and almost got doored by someone getting out of their car.
I’m super excited to start biking more, my first sprint triathlon is in August (more about that later!) and this biking thing isn’t as easy as a trip around the block!